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Thursday, 03 June 2021

Press briefing by Prime Minister Florin Cîţu at the end of the Cabinet meeting of June 3, 2021

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Florin Cîţu: Good afternoon! In today's Cabinet meeting, we adopted the amendment to the Government decision on the extension of the state of alert with a very good thing, very good news regarding weddings and baptisms, they can take place until 2:00 at night. Therefore, we extended this period for weddings and baptisms until 2:00 at night. And another good thing, today, an emergency ordinance at the Ministry of Labor, by which we extend the granting of compensation to professionals from 41.5% of the average gross salary to other persons, respectively to those who earned income before the establishment of the state of emergency, based on copyright and related rights contracts. The indemnity will be granted only to those persons who benefited during the state of emergency and/or alert from the indemnity for the interruption of the activity, provided by article 15, paragraph 4 of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 30/2020. As in the case of professionals defined by the Civil Code, the allowance for artists will be granted only in case of reduction of working time and/or income according to the procedure approved by Government Decision number 719/2020. It is a requirement, especially in the cultural field, to extend this payment of this allowance, and today we have done so. These were the two important normative acts that we approved today, in the Cabinet meeting. If there are questions on other topics.

Reporter: Good afternoon, Mr Prime Minister. In connection with this allowance granted to artists, it is a question of beneficiaries, therefore, who have resumed their activity but are still affected by the restrictions imposed during the pandemic.

Florin Cîţu: This extends until the end of the state of alert, three months afterwards.

Reporter: It is granted only to those to are working on copyrights as those in the artistic industry had..

Florin Cîţu: And related rights. These are the artists. Related rights. Therefore, copyrights and related rights.

Reporter: I would like to ask you what will receive as net amount a beneficiary of this indemnity in the end?

Florin Cîţu: That depends on us all. I do not have the data at this moment.

Reporter: We calculated 1300 lei net.

Florin Cîţu: Maybe it's a very good calculation. I don't have these calculations with me at the moment for each one.

Reporter: And in terms of the number of beneficiaries, those in the art industry said that there would be 30,000 potential beneficiaries, not just 5,500, as they appear in the substantiation note of this act.

Florin Cîţu: All those who are subject to the normative act will be beneficiaries. For all persons benefiting from this right is regulated the updating of the level of salary, of the average gross salary, to the value provided by Law 16/2021 of the social insurance budget for 2021, so the average gross salary is updated too. All the people who meet the criteria will qualify.

Reporter: Good afternoon! I would like to ask you about the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, about those reforms that Romania has undertaken before the European Commission. There is still no clear timetable when each measure will be implemented. We do not have, for example - because we know, the European Commission will check the implementation of projects and reforms every six months - I wanted to ask you what will happen if one of the reforms was not implemented in time? Will we lose all the money or only on a certain pillar?

Florin Cîţu: Reforms are part of the programme and each has a deadline.

For example, as far as the state pension law goes – because it has been addressed – it has to come into force in the first quarter of 2023. So that is clear. And the same is true with all reforms – in finance, in the minimum wage, etc. They are each with its own milestone, each and every reform. The reforms under PNRR are not required by the European Commission. They are reforms that this governing coalition has undertaken in the governing agenda, we presented these reforms in the electoral campaign, won the vote of Romanians and formed this ruling coalition. They are included in the programme for government, the fiscal –budgetary strategy, the convergence programme, and now in this PNRR. They are not new reforms, there are reforms we spoke about, each time, and all have these milestones. If a certain milestone is not reached, and a certain reform is linked to PNRR amounts, of course, those amounts cannot be allocated, this is why it is very important. Reforms are linked to special projects. There are other projects that have their reforms. Therefore, they are all linked. It is a system that has investment-related reforms.

Reporter: Therefore, we will not receive money only for that area where the reform is linked to the respective funding.

Florin Cîţu: That’s correct.

Reporter: Other question: the vaccination of children aged 12 and 15 started. I wanted to ask you as we see there are a lot of relaxation measures for the adults who got vaccinated, will you consider relaxation measures for the vaccinated children as well?

Florin Cîţu: We do not discriminate when it is about vaccinated persons, we do not say if they are adults or children. You saw that at playgrounds, the role of these relaxation measures or conditions is to further encourage vaccination. What should be said is that Romania is the first country in the European Union that starts vaccination for children between 12 and 15  years, which shows very great accountability on our part.

Reporter: Nevertheless, only vaccinated adults can enter clubs at present, this is why I ask you if there are..

Florin Cîţu: Clubs? What do you refer to?

Reporter: Relaxation for club parties?

Florin Cîţu: 12-15 years?

Reporter: This is why I am asking you, will you introduce these incentives for vaccinated children as well?

Florin Cîţu: If it is about spaces especially arranged for children, yes, we will look into it.

Reporter: Regarding PNRR and pensions. It is stipulated that that expenditure with pensions will maintain their share in GDP over the next years and the small pensions will especially grow. That means that average and big pensions will be frozen or will they decrease?

Florin Cîţu: No. There are some principles there and I think the right formulation is that expenditure will remain at a similar level to last year, they will not be frozen. The word is similar. At the same time, we say it is a priority to increase small pensions, we did not say that the other pensions will not increase. I can guarantee you that there will not be ad hoc increases in pensions. Therefore, we will not allow somebody to come and say: we will increase pensions this year by 70 percent because I want so, in the absence of any analysis, feasibility study, and so on. There are some underlying principles.

 Let me give you the timetable: the approval in the Government of the draft law on the public pension system – in the second quarter of 2022, so here is the milestone, the adoption in Parliament of the new Law on the pension system – in the fourth quarter of 2022. The new law on the pension system will come into force in the first quarter of 2023. So these are the targets we will stick to, and now we are entering the debate on the bill. You will see publicly that the procedure by which we will have these laws will be transparent.

(...)



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